This week's new releases include the final volume of the beautiful and haunting "Children of the Sea" and, in complete contrast, a new omnibus volume of the shoujo-est shoujo manga ever, "Kitchen Princess." Plus: A peek at the new Steve Jobs manga (in Japanese) and a look at why scanlations are disappearing in China.
Let's kick it off with Kickstarter:
Megatokyo blows the doors off Kickstarter: Fred Gallagher launched a Kickstarter on Tuesday to create a visual novel based on the long-running webcomic Megatokyo. Gallagher is American, but the comic is centered on the adventures of two gamers in Tokyo, and it brings in a lot of manga tropes. The visual novel is basically a game that allows the user to take on one of the characters and experience the story from their point of view, with lots of turning points and different possible endings. The original goal of the campaign was to raise $20,000 to fund the first part of the game, with two playable characters, Piro and Largo. As of this writing it has raised over $65,000, allowing Gallagher to add five more playable characters and fund the second part of the game.
I must go down to the sea again: This week, Viz brings out the long-awaited fifth and final volume of "Children of the Sea," a strange, supernatural story about an unruly girl, two children who were raised in the sea by dugongs, disappearing fish, a rogue scientist, a girl who swallows a meteorite... It has been four years since the first volume of this series came out, but the whole thing is available digitally if you want to catch up. The art is absolutely beautiful, and the story is enchanting. This is the can't-miss manga of the week.
When the going gets tough, the tough start baking: Well, that's what Najika, the heroine of Natsumi Ando's "Kitchen Princess" does, anyway. Kodansha Comics is releasing their fourth omnibus volume, collecting the charming story of an orphan who goes to an elite boarding school where she solves everyone's problems by cooking for them. This is shoujo manga served straight up, no ice, with every shoujo cliche you can think of packed into a single series, but somehow Ando pulls it off with grace, and it's a very good read.
News from Japan: The first chapter of Mari Yamazaki's bio-manga of Steve Jobs has been posted online. While that manga is in Japanese, Yamazaki is also the creator of Thermae Romae, a comedy about the bathing habits of the ancient Romans and the modern Japanese, which has been licensed and translated by Yen Press. Good news for fans of "House of Leaves" creator Natsume Ono: Her new manga, "ACCA 13-Ku Kansatsu-Ka," will begin in the July 25 issue of "Monthly Big Gangan" magazine. It's "an ensemble drama about crafty men," which is the sort of thing Ono does very well. Bad news for fans of "Hayate x Blade," though: That series ended in the July issue of "Ultra Jump."
Dude, where's my scanlation? Meanwhile, in China, where legit manga is hard to come by, fans are howling after internet provider Tencent locked up "Naruto," "One Piece," and other Shonen Jump properties in a licensing deal with Shueisha and then lowered the boom on fan translations. This immediately led to complaints that the official versions are poorly translated and coming out too slowly, showing that some things are universal.